"It's finally here!"

harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
Well! "It's finally here," November. For many of us this marks the beginning of the best time of our year, hunting season. We in Florida are so fortunate to have many public lands. The Florida management areas offer, for a most affordable fee, some very good hunting. For the more serious hunter, clubs & outfitters offer tremendous opportunities for that real trophy, our hunt of a life time.
I personally have hunted deer & bear in Maine, elk, and bear in New Mexico, and the famous "Black belt" area of Alabama. After over 1/2 a century of hunting I will take Florida wild boar hunting over anything, anywhere, I have ever hunted. The thrill of the stalk, or sitting in a blind & hearing footsteps approach, then you can even hear them breathing. The noise their ears make when they shake their heads is, to say the least, fascinating!
Monday morning, time to visit Tiger island Outfitters, Cedar Key, Florida. I check into the cutest little cabin you have ever seen. Boy was it warm inside. One thing, watch that darn little basset hound named, "Cornbread." I found out the hard way...Cornbread loves TV dinners.
Tiger Island is under fence; however, the hogs are wild & free running in a very large area. They are as hard to harvest as any hogs I have ever hunted. These dudes are not just wild, they are very wild, and smart.
Shall I stalk hunt, hunt from a tree stand or blind. I know I can walk the oaks all day long and never see the same tree twice. However, it's raining, think I will hunt from a nice dry hut. My guide for the evening hunt, Mister Joey Henderson, recommended a hut overlooking a very active corn feeder. Joey took me to my hut, and what a hut it was. Hog signs were everywhere. Even after doing this stuff for a lifetime, my excitement level was off the chart. Will the rain force the brutes to hold up, or make them more active? I have seen it do both.
After about an hour I see my first sign of activity. Hogs! Only problem was they were way off, but headed my way. Closer, closer, they came. Will I get a shot? Do they know I am here? Are they teasing me? This one lone boar, around 100 pounds, appears and looks directly at me in my hut. If I even think about moving, he will disappear in a cloud of dust. Finally, the smell of that golden corn gets the best of this boar; he puts his head down to indulge, time to pick up my gun. Ever so slowly I make my move. Even though I am concealed in my hut, he sees the movement, I freeze. We play out this cat & mouse, rather hog game, for what seems like an eternity. Finally I shoulder my Ruger #1, put the cross hears of my Leupold 3x9 scope just under his right ear, gently touch the trigger & send that massive 45//70, 335 gr., Hornady on its way. What a shot, hog down & out. I call Joey on my radio. He arrives, congratulates me and take this fine animal and me back to my cozy little camp. I shut the door good & tight; that darn "Cornbread" would like nothing better than to make my dinner disappear! A good hot shower, fine meal, and one excited hunter hits the nice warm bed. Think I will do this again in the morning.
6:30 Tuesday morning: I am greeted by two young men, Mister Joey Henderson, & Mister Javis George, my guides for the morning hunt. Let's take a look at the hut I hunted yesterday evening. Has it been hit again? I must say the place was devastated, fresh hog tracks & rooting all over the place. I want to hunt this place. The sun was shinning but boy was it ever cold. This should make the hogs frisky, and hungry. About fifteen minutes after settling into my cozy little hut, I see hogs, hungry hogs. Cute little 50-60 pound BQ size hogs are all over the place. They are actually fighting over the corn. I watch in amazement; what a sight! Then, still in the woods, I see this much bigger boar. I don't think this trophy is going to give me a shot. I raise that Ruger & wait, and wait, and wait. I see his massive outline, but never a clear, put him on the ground, shot. Then, ever so slowly, this monster with the big teeth shows himself. BAM! in an instant it's all over. I call Joey & Javis. This boar is big. They use a winch to load my prize.
Back to camp: Mister Crichton Allen, along with wife Tracy, own Tiger Island Outfitters. Crichton immediately invites me into his house. He is as excited as I am. He wants to hear all about my hunt. Boy did we have a lot to talk about. In the mean time, Joey & Javis expertly quartered my hogs, put them into my very large ice box, loaded them with ice, and put this stuffed hog ice box into the bed of my truck. So long for now! Time to head back to Tampa. I will be back. "It's finally here!"
Bob Harbison Florida native, live long sportsman.
Cutest, well equipped cabin:
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What a neat little hut.
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Note all the hog tracks, tree stand in back ground:
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My Monday evening boar; what a shot:
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Tuesday morning. Guides Joey & Javis admire my trophy. Note all the hog tracks:
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I am proud of this one; Javis checks out my beauty:
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Me & my trophy. Had to use the winch to load this sucker:
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Replies

  • GlennGlenn GeorgiaPosts: 1,724 Captain
    "The Florida management areas offer, for a most affordable fee, some very good hunting. For the more serious hunter, clubs & outfitters offer tremendous opportunities for that real trophy, our hunt of a life time."

    Sorry but that statement just isn't true! You won't find a more serious hunter than a public land hunter who walks for miles every season to find deer sign and hunt high pressured deer, hogs, turkeys. Just from your pictures of that bare sand ground and feeders hanging in the back ground, I see no thrill or hunt involved other than watch a feeder until the pigs come to eat.

    If that is what you call "hard hunting" then you need to join some of us on some WMA hunts!
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
    "If that is what you call "hard hunting" then you need to join some of us on some WMA hunts!"
    I have hunted Ocala, Richlome, Green Swamp, Arcilla, Avon Park, and all points in-between. More tree & people watching than actual hunting. Ever get tired of using the same 5 bullets year after year? Don't tell me about, "Join some of us." Been there, done that.
    Bob H.
  • BnTBnT Posts: 6,644 Admiral
    Nice hog.. I'm staying out of this one....
    "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day... Don’t teach a man to fish…and feed yourself. He’s a grown man. And fishing’s not that hard"
    gandrfab wrote: »
    Sharky is always clocky, bnt is sometimes sharky,
    sharky is sometimes bnt, but bnt is never clocky
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,464 Admiral
    Congrats on a great hunt! looks like you had an awesome time.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
    It was a very exciting hunt with great results. I had a blast!
    "I'm staying out of this one..." Me too! I absolutely refuse to be brought into any discussion on the Florida Management area hunting situation. I have said what needed to be said; now it is over. We have too many great things to talk about. . Let's leave the negativity & talk about the many great opportunities offered by our great sport. Bob H. .
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
    "The more we roll with this and FS sees more content/participation on the hunting forum, the easier it is for them to justify adding more hunting related content to the magazine. There is a good chance that a story or two from the forum could end up in the magazine"
    Hunting is a very big part of the Florida sportsman. The fact that hunting is not covered in FS magazine is an in justice to the sportsmen/women of Florida. This needs to change. Bob H.
  • dukhuntr1991dukhuntr1991 Posts: 307 Deckhand
    harbison wrote: »
    "If that is what you call "hard hunting" then you need to join some of us on some WMA hunts!"
    I have hunted Ocala, Richlome, Green Swamp, Arcilla, Avon Park, and all points in-between. More tree & people watching than actual hunting. Ever get tired of using the same 5 bullets year after year? Don't tell me about, "Join some of us." Been there, done that.
    "You won't find a more serious hunter than a public land hunter." Better known as the, "Weekend warier!" Bob H.

    Sorry man but you just got done saying how you basically couldnt get it done hunting public land and then you criticize public land hunters who actually work to put something on the ground instead of dropping $$ to have someone drop caught hogs in front of you. Pretty bold. :facepalm
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
    "If you take the time to read my article you will notice that I did not criticize management areas, or those who hunt them. "We in Florida are so fortunate to have many public lands. The Florida management areas offer, for a most affordable fee, some very good hunting." I have hunted many. I have harvested bucks, turkey, ducks, snipe, dove, hogs, and even quail in management areas. However, for the most part, the opportunities are very limited. As an alternative: " For the more serious hunter, clubs & outfitters offer tremendous opportunities for that real trophy, our hunt of a life time." Can we do this in a management area? Absolutely! Can we do it on any kind of a regular basis? Absolutely not! Ever hunt Ocala with 3,000 other hunters? I have! Many years ago I hunted the Inverness Management area the very first year it opened. 500 deer were to be allowed to be harvested. Well over 500 were killed before noon of the first day. In Northern Florida, I hunted the Arcilla Manage area for year. At one time it was loaded with hogs. Over-hunting devastated the population. I have absolutely nothing against management areas. However, there is much, much, better hunting available.


    The Tiger Island adventure has now been read by hundreds. Responses, from one end of the country to the other, have been overwhelmingly positive. Check these out from the state of New Jersey:

    "Great report and a nice hog to boot"

    "Awesome Bob simply Awesome"

    "Absolutely outstanding report! Thanks for sharing"

    "That's one of the best reports I have read.. Congrads on the hog.."

    And now the rest of the story:
    "Sorry man but you just got done saying how you basically couldnt get it done hunting public land and then you criticize public land hunters who actually work to put something on the ground."
    I am a native Floridian. I have been hunting & fishing our great state my entire life. I have hunted, with a great deal of success, many public lands. I respect both public & private hunting lands & hunters. We are very fortunate to have a choice as to where & how we want to participate in our great sports. I respect sportsmen/women, be it in the field, or on the water. I have fished in-shore, off-shore, and, for the last 30 years, way off-shore. I have done it all, public & private. I have hunted near & far. I "Criticize" no one!
    However:
    " dropping $$ to have someone drop caught hogs in front of you. Pretty bold." Is in no way representative of good sportsmanship, and or respect . "Drop caught hogs in front of you" is indicative of a complete lack of knowledge of how hunting on private lands is really done.

    All from, "Hunting public land!"

    I shot this monster in the Arcilla management area:
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    This beauty came from Green Swamp management area:
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    Public land in Georgia:
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    Public land in New Mexico & Maine. ( I trailed that deer in the snow for hours)
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    From a fellow hunter:
    "please continue to share, you had an excellent hunt and I felt like I was right there beside you. My wife and I both love to hunt the hogs and really enjoyed reading about your hunt. THANKS, standing by for your next adventure."

    My response:


    Sir, I will be sure to share my adventures with you. Not exactly sure when I will get a chance to visit Tiger Island again. I intend on going as soon & as often as possible. Gosh! I love hog hunting.
    In the mean time, I am scheduled, weather permitting, to fish the Middle Grounds December 9 & 30. Be sure to check out my fishing report.
    You are extremely fortunate to have a wife that hunts. Thelma, my wife of 39 years, enjoyed hunting as much as I do. Both Thelma & my daughter, Betty, are now hunting hogs together in heaven. Please sir, cherish your wife & family as I did mine. Bob
    (Thelma took pride in out-hunting me!)
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  • dukhuntr1991dukhuntr1991 Posts: 307 Deckhand
    harbison wrote: »

    "dropping $$ to have someone drop caught hogs in front of you." Pretty bold statement for a weekend warier trying to rationalize doing nothing in his next door management area.

    hmmmmmmmm..........:grin
  • dukhuntr1991dukhuntr1991 Posts: 307 Deckhand
    sorry i just noticed the story and pictures you added to your previous post. im not sure what the pictures have to do with anything about shooting high fence pigs but oh well? decent teeth on that first one :thumbsup
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
    That big toothed hog I added came from the Arcilla management area; no fences. The one with my wife came from Buck & Boar hunting club, 12,000 acres. NO fences!
    I realize some "hog farms" let a hog out in front of you to shoot. I sir, no more than you, do not condone this. In fact, if this were the case at Tiger Island, you would not see my name connected with it in any way. I love to stalk hunt. Only two little problems, my arthritic knee & replaced hip stopped me from doing so. Ten years ago, be it a management area, a club, or an outfitter, you would have never seen me in a hut. Now, I have little to no choice. Hunting, as life, is what you make out of it. I love to hunt & fish. One way or another, I will continue to do so just as long as I possibly can.
    Hunting, within a fence, if done correctly, can be, if you let it be, very exciting. If done correctly, the fence is only a "Stigma" if you let it be. Hogs, fence or not fence, are very smart, can smell you form a very long way off, and, regardless of what some say, can see movement from great distances. On my first two trips to Tiger island I did not even get a shot. I have been hunting hogs in Florida for over fifty years. I have hunted them on public, private lands, clubs, with outfitters, dogs, tracking them, from tree stands, from huts, fenced, and not fenced. You name it, I have probably don it. No matter what method preferred, hog hunting can be fascinating. Bob H.
  • BodineBodine Posts: 2,975 Captain
    You might need to dust those mounts a bit.
    Glad you enjoyed your hunt.
    F the feds
  • FloridaFisherFloridaFisher Posts: 10 Greenhorn
    well done harbison... sounds like you had a great time which is all that counts!
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
    Good hunting combined with good old Southern hospitality is hard to beat. Yes! I had a great time. Will be visiting, weather permitting, the Florida Middle Grounds this weekend. Will try to provide plenty of pictures. Bob H.
  • launchpadlaunchpad Posts: 386 Officer
    :obscene What exactliy is Jarvis checking out????? :obscene
    "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
    What exactliy is Jarvis checking out?????
    "What exactliy is Jarvis checking out????? " Good question! Must admit I have been wondering myself. Got a couple of Middle Grounds trips coming up. Not sure when I will get back to Tiger Island. Hopefully he will be there; I will be sure to ask him. I will go as soon as I can. That is one fun place!
    That was a very long hog. Feel sure he was studying the length. Take care.
    Thanks for asking! Bob
  • Stans_the_Man88Stans_the_Man88 Posts: 10 Greenhorn
    How can you say that High Fence property is real hunting?!?! When man first began hunting, they DID NOT have high fences and people bringing the game to them! The whole reason hunting is so great is because it's a challenge. You dont always get something. Shoot, you dont always even know if an animal is within 3 square miles of you. So hunting in "a cage" is not the reality. I am not knocking you, just dont act like you worked your butt off for it and that this is what hunting is all about. Because people that are new to the sport deserve to know what it is really like...
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
    It's all about attitude!
    A "Cage" is, to some more of a stigma than anything. Tiger Island hogs are free roaming in a large wooded area. Cage or no cage, they still have a nose, and know how to use it. They remain experts at survival.
    Will you have more of a chance than on public land? Absolutely! More of a chance than in an organized club? Absolutely! Is it enjoyable? Depends on the individuals prospective of enjoyment. I hunted Buck & Boar for the last twenty years. Loaded with hogs. We hunted them the exact same way as we do at Tiger Island. Last Christmas I shot a 200 pound boar at Buck & Boar. My stand, which I scouted, set up, and maintained, was over an hour, all 4X4 roads, from my camp. Got back to camp, & then had to clean that monster myself. Don't talk to me about the reality of working your butt off. Been there, done that.
    Then there is the Florida management area situation.
    Reality: Inexpensive, but very crowded, and overloaded with rules & regulations. "you dont always even know if an animal is within 3 square miles of you." However, rest assured, there will be plenty of other hunters within that area. Been there, done that!
    I am not criticizing anyone or any method of hunting. If a management area is your piece of cake, more power to you. If you want to join a club, they can be great. If time is limited & you want a real chance, try an outfitter like Tiger Island. Must admit I had plenty of doubts about, "High fence property" hunting myself; that is until I tried it. It can be every bit as exciting as a private club, without the work, and without all the crowds of your average management area. I will never forget my last trip to Green Swamp. On the road a car every 100 yards. In the woods, a hunter no matter where you went. And then there was River Ranch; even worse!
    Hunting, as life, is what you make out of it. No matter where, or how you hunt, if you go with the attitude that you are going to have a great time; chances are very good that you will. It you go with an attitude that I am not going to like this, chances are very good that you, and those around you, will have a lousy trip. Finally, if the, "Stigma" of a high fence is too much for you, don't go!It's all about attitude! the, "challenge" is yours, ours. "people that are new to the sport deserve to know what it is really like" So let's give them all aspect! Bob H.
  • hoghuntresshoghuntress Posts: 2 Greenhorn
    Well, with that logic, when man first began fishing, they did not climb on boats with their rods and reels and have them take them out to catch fish....or do you strictly fish from shore because of the "challenge", oh, and do you hunt with a bow or a spear??? do you shape your tools from shale and stone?? do you cook your kill over a fire in your cave???? do you stalk your prey or do you take your truck, loaded with your gear, dressed in your camo clothes, climb in your stand or blind, use a rangefinder? a scope? a compound bow? a deer call? a gun????? The whole reason hunting is so great is different things for different people...it doesnt matter if you gun hunt, bow hunt, dog hunt, stand hunt, fence hunt....what matters is that YOU HUNT! We should celebrate each others accomplishments and experiences in the outdoors...leave all this negativity at home...we are all part of the brotherhood/sisterhood of hunting and fishing and if you don't have anything nice to say-then don't say anything at all!!
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
    "What matters is that YOU HUNT"
    "leave all this negativity at home...we are all part of the brotherhood/sisterhood of hunting and fishing and if you don't have anything nice to say-then don't say anything at all."
    I, for one, try my best to follow this very good advice. I love our great sports, both hunting & fishing. I have been, and still am, a very regular visitor to the Florida Middle Grounds. The Grounds begin 100 miles NW of Madeira Beach Florida. Hope to visit the Grounds this weekend.
    As far as hunting goes, I love hog hunting. I have been hunting them in Florida for over 50 years. I have, and continue to do quite well.
    No one could offer better advice than this:
    "The whole reason hunting is so great is different things for different people...it doesn't matter if you gun hunt, bow hunt, dog hunt, stand hunt, fence hunt....what matters is that YOU HUNT"
    Thanks, we could all learn a lesson from your prospective. Bob H.
  • hoghuntresshoghuntress Posts: 2 Greenhorn
    Bob, i enjoy your posts and can tell from reading them you are a passionate angler and hunter and that you love the outdoors!! What if we all showed the same positive attitude and outright support for each other, whatever our hunting/fishing choices!! Keep the great posts coming! You are an extremely talented man and an asset to forums like this....happy huntin folks!
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
    Thank you ever so much. I try to be as passionate & positive as possible; not easy sometimes. I choose a major in college, Psychology, and a job that would allow me to help people. I worked, as a counselor, for the Department of Juvenile Justice, State of Florida, for many years. I treated the families I worked with as if they were my own. I raised three daughters. I love to teach & help others. Now that I am retired, I try to pass on my knowledge of hunting & fishing to others. Have been hunting & fishing in Florida for over fifty years. I have learned a few things that I hope will be a benefit to fellow sportsmen/women.
    Headed for the Florida Middle Grounds this Friday. Wish me luck! Would be honored to have some forum friends join me sometime on the Florida Fisherman and or at Tiger Island. Bob

    Check out my weekend Middle Grounds report under West Central, "Hot even during the cold of December!"
    Our catch:
    43Results.jpg
  • Capt. Kevin BrotzCapt. Kevin Brotz Posts: 733 Officer
    Glad you had a great hunt!! I'm staying out of the rest of it.
    We are Glad to Help!!
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    Build A Better Rod!
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,711 Captain
    "I'm staying out of the rest of it." Smart move! It was indeed a, "Great hunt!" My Tiger Island report has now been visited over 2,000 times from one end of the country to the other. All responses, with the exception of a couple on here, have been overwhelmingly positive. Guess you just can't please everybody; but that will never stop me. To me, 1,998 out of 2,000, is a pretty darn good average. Bob H.
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